Res­i­dents, staff of Smith Cross­ing in Orland Park get COVID-19 vaccine

January 08, 2021 • Source: Daily Southtown

SC residents vaccine 1

After a long career as a chem­i­cal engi­neer, Rich Misiorows­ki took an ana­lyt­i­cal approach to COVID-19 and the vac­cine he was about to get Thurs­day morning. 

You look at the prob­a­bil­i­ty of things,” said the res­i­dent of Smith Cross­ing, an elder care in Orland Park. You know this (virus) could kill you so you try to do the things to pre­vent your­self from get­ting the disease.”

The prob­a­bil­i­ty is this (vac­cine) is going to help you,” Misiorows­ki, 85, said.

Misiorows­ki, who moved to Smith Cross­ing in ear­ly March, was among about 400 res­i­dents and employ­ees at Smith Cross­ing get­ting their ini­tial dose of the Pfiz­er vac­cine, being admin­is­tered by Walgreens.

Smith Senior Liv­ing also oper­ates Smith Vil­lage in Chicago’s Bev­er­ly com­mu­ni­ty, where staff and res­i­dents were expect­ed to get their ini­tial dose next week. 

Employ­ees and res­i­dents at nurs­ing homes and oth­er long-term care facil­i­ties are fol­low­ing hos­pi­tal work­ers in the list of peo­ple get­ting vac­cines. Employ­ees at Smith Cross­ing, such as Deb Davis, a licensed prac­ti­cal nurse, said they were excit­ed about get­ting the shot.

For me I think it’s a true mir­a­cle that Pfiz­er and Mod­er­na came up with this vac­cine,” Davis, who has worked at the facil­i­ty for eight years, said.

Smith Cross­ing pro­vides inde­pen­dent liv­ing, assist­ed liv­ing, skilled nurs­ing care and mem­o­ry care along with long-term reha­bil­i­ta­tion at the 32-acre site, north of Orland Park­way and about halfway between LaGrange and Wolf roads.

Fer­nan­do Coro­na, who works in the envi­ron­men­tal ser­vices depart­ment, said he spent 12 days at Palos Com­mu­ni­ty Hos­pi­tal in Palos Heights after being exposed to the virus some­time in November.

I start­ed get­ting real­ly sick and could­n’t breathe,” the 66-year-old Orland Hills res­i­dent said. For two days I thought I was­n’t going to make it. It was that bad.”

Coro­na said that after being dis­charged, there was no pres­sure on him to return to his job, and he stayed home for three weeks but suf­fered lin­ger­ing effects.

I was not myself,” he said. I felt depressed, I was falling into a depression.”

Coro­na said that his wife and their son were also pos­i­tive for COVID-19 around the same time he fell ill, but their symp­toms were rel­a­tive­ly mild.

He said return­ing to his job last month has helped, but that he still has issues focusing.

I have to think twice about what I’m doing,” he said.

Coro­na said that fol­low­ing his bout with COVID-19, he has been an advo­cate for the vac­cine among friends and co-workers.

I don’t want them to go through the expe­ri­ence I did,” he said.

With four grand­chil­dren work­ing as nurs­es, and a broth­er who con­tract­ed COVID-19, Tillie Bulthuis said she need­ed no encour­age­ment to get in line Thursday.

Bulthuis spent sev­en years vol­un­teer­ing in the assist­ed liv­ing por­tion of the facil­i­ty after the death of her hus­band, Edward, in Decem­ber 2007, before becom­ing a res­i­dent her­self on Valen­tine’s Day in 2017. She pre­vi­ous­ly lived in the near­by Eagle Ridge sub­di­vi­sion in Orland Park.

It’s rather a shock to me,” she said of the spread of the coro­n­avirus. The deaths are so high.”

Misiorows­ki moved to Smith Cross­ing March 3 of last year after his Frank­fort home became too large to man­age. He said his wife died 13 years ago.

He said he has a grand­daugh­ter who works as a nurse in New York City who con­tract­ed the virus at one point last year.

She had some trou­ble breath­ing but recov­ered and returned to work,” he said.

Misiorows­ki said he weighs the pos­i­tives and neg­a­tives” of get­ting the vac­cine and under­stands there are some peo­ple out there who are hes­i­tant about it because they believe too much in unproven data.”

Davis has worked at Smith Cross­ing for eight years and tends to 45 res­i­dents. She said they are eager to receive the vac­cine, not­ing the pan­dem­ic and the iso­la­tion they have expe­ri­enced as a result.

They’ve been through so much.” she said. They held their own, they are very strong.”

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